Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science.  Die fröhliche Wissenschaft.

First published in 1882.

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The Animal with a good Conscience.

It is not unknown to me that there is vulgarity in every thing that pleases Southern Europe whether it be Italian opera (for example, Rossini's and Bellini's), or the Spanish adventure romance (most readily accessible to us in the French garb of Gil Bias) but it does not offend me, any more than the vulgarity which one encounters in a walk through Pompeii, or even in the reading of every ancient book : what is the reason of this?  Is it because shame is lacking here, and because the vulgar always comes forward just as sure and certain of itself as anything noble, lovely, and passionate in the same kind of music or romance?"  The animal has its rights like man, so let it run about freely; and you, my dear fellow man, are still this animal, in spite of all!"  that seems to me the moral of the case, and the peculiarity of southern humanity.  Bad taste has its rights like good taste, and even a prerogative over the latter when it is the great requisite, the sure satisfaction, and as it were a universal language, an immediately intelligible mask and attitude; the excellent, select taste on the other hand has always something of a seeking, tentative character, not fully certain that it understands, it is never, and has never been popular!  The masque is and remains popular!  So let all this masquerade run along in the melodies and cadences, in the leaps and merriment of the rhythm of these operas!  Quite the ancient life!  What does one understand of it, if one does not understand the delight in the masque, the good conscience of all masquerade!  Here is the bath and the refreshment of the ancient spirit: and perhaps this bath was still more necessary for the rare and sublime natures of the ancient world than for the vulgar.  On the other hand, a vulgar turn in northern works, for example in German music, offends me unutterably.  There is shame in it, the artist has lowered himself in his own sight, and could not even avoid blushing : we are ashamed with him, and are so hurt because we surmise that he believed he had to lower him self on our account.  
 

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